NWS Hydrometeorological Prediction Center becomes the Weather Prediction Center

Date Posted: February 28, 2013

The Hydrometeorological Prediction Center — one of the nine national centers of the National Weather Service — will now be known as the Weather Prediction Center. The change, which takes place on March 5, is meant to better reflect the diverse mission of the organization and provide a clearer and easier-to-understand name for the center, which is described in its strategic plan as “America’s go-to center for high-impact precipitation events and forecast guidance out to 14 days for a Weather-Ready Nation.”

“The new name captures the great breadth of products and services delivered each and every day and night of the year as the center works alongside the rest of the National Weather Service team to build a Weather-Ready Nation,” said Jim Hoke, director of the renamed center, located in the NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park, Md. “Although our mission hasn’t changed at all, it is nice now to have a name everyone can understand, pronounce and spell.”

In addition to better reflecting the entire scope of the center’s mission, the new name provides partners and external users with an easier-to-understand way to reference the center, whose product suite includes quantitative precipitation forecasts, short- and medium-range forecast graphics and discussions, winter weather products, surface analyses and more. NWS weather forecast offices and river forecast centers, private sector forecasters, the media, academic community and general public all rely on products produced by the center.

The process of changing the name began as a grassroots effort by HPC employees, and reflects a recommendation made as part of a 2009 external review by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which suggested the center create a new strategic plan and broader name recognition. As part of that process, it became apparent many partners and customers of HPC products were not familiar with the meaning of the term “hydrometeorological,” which, among other definitions, relates to the study of the atmospheric and terrestrial phases of the hydrologic cycle, with emphasis on their interrelationship. The abbreviation “HPC” is also frequently confused with that for High Performance Computing.

“The broad support for the name change has been especially gratifying,” Hoke said. “What started as an in-house initiative by our employees was enthusiastically supported by users of the center’s products and services, the employees organization, NOAA leadership, the academic community, the private sector and other stakeholders.”

Although a centralized forecast location has always been a part of the National Weather Service and its predecessor agencies — dating back to 1870 — HPC most directly traces its roots to March 5, 1942, when Weather Bureau Chief Francis Reichelderfer signed an order establishing the “Analysis Center” at Weather Bureau headquarters in Washington, D.C. Over the years, the center evolved to become a vital part of the National Meteorological Center, which was reorganized in October 1995 to create NCEP.